Jun 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Bulletin (January 2024 Ed) 
2023-2024 Academic Bulletin (January 2024 Ed)

Speech and Hearing Science, Ph.D.


Program Description

The Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science seeks to develop individuals for professional careers in a variety of positions including research and college teaching in the concentration areas of speech and language pathology, audiology, speech-language science or hearing science. The degree program is research oriented with primary emphasis on processes involved in normal, or disordered speech, language, and hearing. As a rule, students are not permitted to transfer from the Ph.D. program to the M.S. SLP program. Ph.D. students will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge in areas related to their concentrated field of study. These areas include:

  1. Basic speech, hearing, or language processes;

  2. Basic speech, hearing, or language disorders or differences;

  3. Related disciplines providing insight into human communication processes;

  4. Technical skills in instrumentation and experimental design that enable the student to investigate problems pertaining to speech and hearing processes.

Admission and Selection

The matriculation for new students is in the Fall term, which begins mid-August. Most students apply before December in the year prior to matriculation. The final application deadline is January 15th. Applications are reviewed as received. The admission requirements are:

  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) - preferably in the field of communication sciences and disorders. Degrees from other areas will be considered, though students without graduate training in core areas will require additional coursework.

  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

  • A minimum revised Graduate Record Examination (GRE) combined verbal and quantitative score of 300.

  • Any applicant to the graduate program whose first language is not English and who has earned neither a bachelor’s nor a master’s degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country must have achieved a TOEFL score of at least 213/79 on the computer-based/Internet- based exam or an IELTS score of 6.5 (earned within 2 years prior to application). Any applicant whose first language is not English but who has earned a baccalaureate or advanced degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country where instruction was in English may be exempted from the requirement for the TOEFL or IELTS examination.

  • Three letters of recommendation.

  • Transcripts from any non-US institution must be verified and certified to generate a grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale. Verification must be completed before January 25th.

  • Identification of a faculty member as the student’s major advisor.

Technical Standards and Accommodations

The minimum abilities for eligibility to participate successfully in educational programs and activities by students enrolled in the College of Graduate Health Sciences are listed below. All persons who wish to enter one of the programs in the college should be aware of the minimum abilities required for success. Admission decisions for the college programs do not take disabilities into consideration; students may disclose their disabilities after admission.

Minimum abilities are as follows:

  1. To make proper assessments and ethical judgments regarding research and professional decisions.

  2. To communicate effectively with colleagues and professional staff.

  3. To acquire necessary information developed through classroom instruction, laboratory experience, independent learning, and consultation.

  4. To search and evaluate articles in the scientific literature.

  5. To obtain, interpret, and accurately document research data.

  6. To complete computer-based assignments and use computers.

  7. To understand and carry out safety rules and precautions in the laboratory.

  8. To handle emergencies in the laboratory, including fire, exposure to dangerous agents, and explosions.

These abilities may be accomplished through direct student response, use of prosthetic devices, or personal assistance (e.g., readers, signers, and note takers). Upon admission, students are invited to disclose any disabilities (with certification) to the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) https://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/. The college will provide reasonable accommodations, as required by the student’s documented disabilities with SASSI, and at the student’s written request to the Dean, College of Graduate Health Sciences. Purchase of prosthetic devices to aid the student in meeting these requirements is the responsibility of the student. On a case-by-case basis, and upon written request of the student, the College may assist in providing attending services.

Curriculum Summary

The PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences is designed around an internship model that focuses on research and teaching experience rather than completion of specific courses. Students will work closely with their mentor and doctoral committee to determine the specific courses and skills they will need to be successful in their field. Please note that the requirements below specify minimum requirements. Some students may require additional academic coursework depending on the student’s level of preparation in their chosen field of study. 

For students entering with an AuD or MA/MS-SLP, the minimum required coursework follows: 

  1. 24 credit hours in SPH 900 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation5

  2. 6 credit hours in statistics or data analysis methods. 

  3. 1 credit hour in approved research ethics course (SPH 965 - Research Ethics). 

  4. 3 credit hours of SPH 951 - Directed Research Project I6

  5. 3 credit hours of SPH 952 - Directed Research Project II. 

  6. 3 credit hours in SPH 911 - Experimental Design in Speech and Hearing (or equivalent)

  7. 3 credit hours in supervised teaching experience (SPH 955 - Practicum in College Teaching)7 

  8. 6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework (500-level or above) in a related area of interest, outside of the student’s major area of study8,9.

  9. 1 credit hour per term in SPH 910 - Trends in Speech and Hearing Science10

For students entering with a BS/BA, an additional 30 credit hours in foundational coursework is required. These hours will typically be selected from core course content in the Master of Science in speech-language pathology (MSSLP) or from the clinical Doctorate in audiology (AuD) programs (degree programs offered through the College of Health Professions).

All students must pass comprehensive examinations prior to beginning their dissertation research.

The minimum requirements do not meet the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) standards for certification. If a Ph.D. student wishes to pursue clinical certification through ASHA, then the student needs to ensure they have met all ASHA course and competency requirements. 

Individual program lengths may vary according to the amount of coursework required and/or time taken to complete research, projects, comprehensive exams and dissertation.

5Additional credit hours may be required to maintain full-time status. Continuous registration for dissertation research is required until the degree requirements are met. 

6SPH 951 may be waived for students entering the program with previous research experience completed as part of an AuD or MA/MS-SLP program. The decision to waive SPH 951 is at the discretion of the student’s mentor and faculty committee.

7Completion of the UTHSC Teaching and Learning Center - Future Educator’s Academy is required so long as this non-credit program is freely available to students.

8This coursework is often completed outside the department of Audiology and Speech Pathology; however, in certain cases, it may be completed within the department so long as it is outside the student’s major area of study.

9This requirement is independent from that stated in item 2. Additional statistics/data analysis methods coursework does not fulfill the requirement stated in item 8.

10In certain circumstances, this requirement may be waived by the student’s faculty committee for a term (or terms).

Transfer of Credit

Courses taken at another institution for graduate credit, completed with a grade of B or better, and accepted by the student’s program in the College may be transferred into the student’s UTHSC degree program. The number of hours that may be transferred will be determined by the Program Chair or Director, but at least 50% of the credit hours for a master’s or Ph.D. degree must be earned at UTHSC.

(Typical) Sequence for a Student Entering with a MSSLP or AuD

Year 1

  • 3 credits in Related Area of Study

  • 6 credits in Statistics/Data Analysis Methods

  • 3 credits in Directed Research Project I (SPH 951)

  • 2 credits in Trends in Speech and Hearing Science (SPH 910)

  • 3 - 6 credits in Independent Study/Directed Research or Major Area of Study


Year 2

  • 3 credits in Experimental Design (e.g., SPH 911)

  • 3 - 6 credits in Directed Research Project II (SPH 952)

  • 1 credit in Research Ethics (SPH 955)

  • 3 - 6 credits in Independent Study/Directed Research or Major Area of Study

  • 2 credits in Trends in Speech and Hearing Science (SPH 910)

  • 3 credits in Related Area of Study

  • Comprehensive Examination and Advancement to Candidacy


Year 3

  • 3 credits in Practicum in College Teaching (SPH 955)

  • 2 credits in Trends in Speech and Hearing Science (SPH 910)

  • 12 credits in Dissertation Research (SPH 900)

  • 1 - 3 credits in Independent Study/Directed Research

  • Dissertation Prospectus


Year 4

  • 2 credits in Trends in Speech and Hearing Science (SPH 910)

  • 12 credits in Dissertation Research (SPH 900)

  • 4 credits in Independent Study/Directed Research

  • Dissertation Defense


Promotion and Graduation

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or greater throughout the program.

Admission to Candidacy

Students entering with a previous graduate degree (MSSLP or AuD) must apply for Ph.D. degree candidacy by the beginning of their third year. Other students must apply for candidacy by the beginning of their fourth year. Admission to candidacy for this degree depends upon the student’s (1) passing the required comprehensive examination, (2) demonstration of research potential and accomplishment at least equivalent to that for completion of a master’s thesis, (3) certification by the student’s Faculty Committee and the Program Chair or Director, and (4) approval by the Dean Upon admission to candidacy, all graduate students, including those who have been enrolled part-time, must be enrolled full-time for the remainder of their program, unless an exception is approved by the Dean.

Research, Electronic Dissertation, and Oral Defense

Research accomplishment is a principal requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and the dissertation must show substantial evidence of independently achieved and original results. This research and preparation of the dissertation must in each case be conducted in accordance with general college policies and under the immediate direction of the student’s Research Advisor and Faculty Committee. The dissertation is written after completion of experiments or other graduate studies designed to answer the questions posed by the statement of the problem. The scientific content and style of the dissertation are the responsibility of the student and student’s Faculty Committee. The dissertation must be formatted and delivered according to the electronic thesis and dissertation policies outlined in these bylaws under “ET/D Program Policies”.

Additional information regarding this program is available at http://grad.uthsc.edu/Programs/index.php?page=Programs.